By Thomas Heise
An outline and an Underview: asymmetric improvement and the Social creation of yank Underworlds
1 taking place: Narratives of Slumming within the Ethnic Underworlds of reduce big apple, 1890s–1910s
2 Degenerate intercourse and town: The Underworlds of recent York and Paris within the paintings of Djuna Barnes
and Claude McKay, 1910s–1930s
3 The Black Underground: city Riots, the Black Underclass, and the paintings of Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison, 1940s–1950s
4 Wasted desires: John Rechy, Thomas Pynchon, and the Underworlds of la, 1960s
5 White areas and concrete Ruins: Postmodern Geographies in Don DeLillo’s Underworld, 1950s–1990s
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Additional info for Urban Underworlds: A Geography of Twentieth-Century American Literature and Culture
New York has always had its slums. By the end of the century, however, New York was qualitatively and quantitatively different from the 1850 version of itself. ”27 The city’s uneven social and geographic development thus was physically evident in the dilapidated, fire-prone tenements at one end of town and Millionaires Row, the Fifth Avenue mansions of Cornelius Vanderbilt, Isaac Fletcher, and Henry Cook, at the other. Such antipodes were the visual expressions of what James in The American Scene termed “the economic idea,” the binarism that manufactured great wealth and great poverty simultaneously (74).
Topping from Below: Remapping Lower New York in the Late Nineteenth-Century Travel Guide When William Meloney labeled the Lower East Side a “sordid underworld” in 1909, he was using language that had been in circulation in New York journalism for more than a half century, particularly in the scandal sheets by newspaper writers and muckrakers who made their trade through exposing the city’s mysteries to an eager, easily tantalized reading public. 4 London and Paris— both older than New York—had had their own urban squalor aired out in the years before the New York city-mystery writers started snooping around.
By 1915, the Village hosted the largest gay subculture in the United States, comprising a network of clubs, bars, and restaurants that became routine stops on sexual slumming tours through the area. By 1920, Harlem was the 26 / an overview and an underview largest African American neighborhood in the nation, labeled the Montmartre of America for its scandalous brothels, jazz venues, and buffet flats that, too, were subject to the leering eyes of outsiders. To understand these developments, I turn to Djuna Barnes and Claude McKay.